Oando says audit appeal not meant to undermine SEC
Oando Plc says it has taken no action that is capable of undermining the authority of the apex regulator of Nigeria’s capital market, Securities and Exchange Commission.
But the oil major noted that its actions were meant to protect the company and its shareholders against the actions taken under the leadership of Mounir Gwarzo, the erstwhile director-general of the commission.
The position of the company was made known in statement on Friday.
Oando recently approached the Court of Appeal in its bid to lift the technical suspension imposed on its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange by SEC as well as challenge a planned forensic audit on its activities.
The oil company had earlier approached the Federal High Court in Lagos to challenge SEC’s suspension of its shares and an audit of its business activities by forensic experts hired by SEC.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa had struck out Oando’s suit, saying he had no jurisdiction to entertain it. The judge said the appropriate forum to handle the issue was the Investment and Securities Tribunal.
But Oando in its statement said, “The company would like to categorically state that no action taken thus far has been to undermine the authority of SEC, but to protect the company and its shareholders against the actions taken under the leadership of Mounir Gwarzo, the erstwhile director-general of the SEC.
“Oando Plc, as a responsible company recognises and respects the authority of SEC to regulate the market as it deems fit.”
On December 5, 2017, SEC officially notified the company that a forensic audit into the affairs of Oando would commence on December 6, 2017. But the external auditors appointed by the SEC are yet to approach the company to commence the audit.
According to Oando, on December 8, 2017, new evidence emerged in the media corroborating the company’s position that under the leadership of Gwarzo, the actions taken by the commission were illegal, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company.
Oando said the evidence, a signed report presented on September 18, 2017 by the technical committee set up by Gwarzo, was of the opinion that the company (Oando) had satisfactorily responded to all the issues raised by the petitioners and had further recommended that the responses provided by the company and its independent external auditors should be forwarded to the petitioners for their information.
The company added, “The report makes no recommendation for the shares of the company to be suspended or for a forensic audit of the company to be conducted; instead the committee recommended that certain unresolved issues regarding the treatment of certain corporate transactions and certain matters arising there from be forwarded to the Securities and Investment Services Department of the commission to determine whether there was in fact a breach of the ISA or SEC rules.”